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Why Aging Adults with Dementia Stop Eating & Drinking

As dementia progresses, it’s not uncommon for seniors to reduce their intake of food and fluids. There are many reasons these dietary changes occur. However, there are also a variety of methods you can try to reverse the issue.


Seniors with dementia no longer comprehend the passage of time. As such, they cannot comprehend the amount of time that passes from one meal to the next. They also no longer understand the feeling of hunger. Consider gently prompting your senior loved one to eat when food is presented by directing his or her hand to the eating utensil and then to his or her mouth. Once your loved one begins eating, he or she may continue eating independently. In the later stages of the disease, it may become necessary to feed your loved one.

Caring for seniors with dementia can be challenging. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Boca Raton, FL, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.


Aging adults with dementia often become distracted and confused when several people and interactions take place in the immediate area. The distraction commonly causes seniors to resist sitting and enjoying a meal. They may prefer pacing instead and possibly demonstrate agitation. Try offering finger foods like cheeses, fruits, or sandwiches that are portable and can be eaten while standing. Reduce distractions by keeping radios, TVs, and other electronic devices turned off at mealtimes. Create an atmosphere that is as calm and quiet as possible.

Utensil Difficulties

Arthritic conditions may make it difficult to hold and manage spoons, forks, and knives. There are therapeutic options available that make it easier for seniors to grasp utensils. Seniors with dementia may also no longer understand how to use eating utensils. Try demonstrating and guiding your loved one through the process. Finger foods are another option.

Finding time to help your loved one eat or perform daily tasks may be difficult to manage. In Boca Raton, home care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy.

Altered Taste

As the disease process advances, seniors may have an altered sense of taste, which changes the flavor of foods. Experiment with a variety of foods to find flavors and textures your loved one finds more appealing. Choose foods with rich flavors.

Chewing & Swallowing Difficulties

Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia eventually also affect movement, which includes chewing and swallowing. Your loved one may simply hold the food in his or her mouth. If still able to chew and swallow, he or she may exhibit coughing and choking. Soft foods are easier to manage and reduce the chance of choking. Fluids may need slight thickening. Meals served with gravies or sauces are easier to swallow. Make sure your loved one is always in an upright position when eating.

Medication Side Effects

Some medications used to treat a variety of conditions cause dry mouth, abdominal upset, or constipation. Any of these issues may interfere with the desire to eat. Offer fluids throughout the day to keep your loved one’s oral tissues hydrated and encourage bowel activity. Fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain foods also alleviate constipation.

Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted Boca Raton senior home care provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide. Home Care Assistance is here to help. If your loved one is diagnosed with a serious medical condition and needs professional in-home care, call us at (561) 826.9282 today.